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Series: Outsourced

Based on the 2006 independent film of the same name, Outsourced was a short-lived NBC Work Com about an American heading up a call center in India. Its one and only season can be seen in its entirety on Hulu.

The major characters are:

  • Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport) - The Everyman and a Fish out of Water, like his filmic counterpart, though with some more Deadpan Snarker leanings added. He's also a bit too fond of the Idiot Ball. Younger than the movie character, who was approaching middle age and had been a manager for some time. In contrast, the TV version is still fairly fresh out of college and had only just finished management training before the pilot.
  • Rajiv Gidwani (Rizwan Manji) - Todd's two-faced assistant manager, who would like to displace him and run the call center himself as a whip-cracking dictator. His filmic counterpart was named Puro and was a perfectly friendly Number Two character, although the less sympathetic TV version is still given occasional Pet the Dog moments.
  • Manmeet (Sacha Dhawan) - The Casanova/Casanova Wannabe type character, who was a Living Prop in the movie. Todd's Lancer, more or less, largely taking over the role which Puro had in the original movie.
  • Asha (Rebecca Hazlewood) - Todd's love interest in the movie, she has UST with him on the show, but it was, of course, never fully resolved. When she's not being used for romance plots, she's a Generic Girl who tends to be Out of Focus in favor of the quirkier Madhuri.
  • Gupta (Parvesh Cheena) - A Wacky Guy with no counterpart in the movie. The show's Butt Monkey, though occasionally a Jerkass. Never stops talking. Ever.
  • Madhuri (Anisha Nagarajan) - A Shrinking Violet and another filmic Living Prop promoted to series regular. Began to show some Cloudcuckoolander leanings towards the show's end.
  • Charlie Davies (Diedrich Bader) - An American who has been running an Indian call center for some time. A Cynical Mentor to Todd. For some reason, Charlie appears to spend his off-hours getting involved in wacky hijinks with Todd's employees. The movie has a somewhat analogous character who appears in only one scene.
  • Tonya (Pippa Black) - An Australian call center manager in a Love Triangle with Todd and Asha. A Good Bad Girl type in contrast to the more conservative Asha. Does not have a counterpart in the movie. Todd dated her for awhile, but she was Out of Focus a lot before and after their relationship.

During its time on the air, the show acquired a Love It or Hate It status, with most mainstream critics falling into the "hate it" camp. The show has been accused of everything from being racist to being insensitive to victims of outsourcing, but is more often simply decried as being a weak comedy that's too similar in premise to 30 Rock and Community. Nevertheless, the show was starting to pick up a fanbase towards its end for whom the "racist" allegation in particular has been repeatedly decried as a case of Political Correctness Gone Mad based on the Everything Is Racist logic.


Tropes include:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Charlie wants Tonya, Tonya wants Todd, Todd wants Asha.
  • Alternate Continuity: There are changes in the characters' names (for example, "Todd Anderson" becomes "Todd Dempsy") and the company's headquarters is moved from Seattle to Kansas City.
  • Arranged Marriage: Asha, similar to the film.
  • Ascended Extra: All the call center operators besides Asha. In the movie, they were Living Props, but in the TV show they're Regular Characters with their actors credited in the opening titles. And in show, Pinky.
    • Also Bearded Turban Guy, who showed up as a Living Prop but who is, as of the finale, Madhuri's boyfriend.
  • Benevolent Boss: Todd.
  • Betty and Veronica: Asha and Tonya towards Todd respectively.
  • Brick Joke: You remember that one-off innuendo that Todd's boss was getting a happy ending at his massage? It isn't until two episodes later that we find out the masseuse was an undercover cop, the resulting scandal hit all the major newspapers, and it's the reason his marriage is falling apart.
    • There's also a literal brick joke in the pilot.
    • And one more crosses over with Leeroy Jenkins in the Holi episode, as Pinki charges away without listening to the plan, only to show up when the plan has been executed.
  • California Doubling: The movie was really filmed in India. The TV show is, of course, filmed in California aside from Establishing Shots and Driving a Desk type shots.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Todd taps everyone's shoulder (which counts as sexual harassment), except Asha's.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Todd and Rajiv.
  • The Cast Showoff: An episode was written so Anisha Nagarajan, a Broadway musical performer, can sing in the climax.
  • The Charmer: Manmeet.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Charlie definitely qualifies with his hobbies, setting camp inside a deer, his innecessary survival and burglary kits, and his wallet made of his own skin.
    • And Gupta. No wonder they become such good friends.
    • And of course Pinkie.
  • Control Freak: Rajiv.
  • Credits Gag: The credits either play over an extension of the episode, or a little skit related to it or what happened later.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rajiv.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: An Arranged Marriage plays a major factor in the current storyline, and despite the fact that the practice clearly offends the American protagonist, the show has taken a surprisingly non-judgmental route with the whole thing.
    • During his lecture on sexual harassment, Todd showed his workers a video from the 80s discussing what is and is not appropriate behavior in the workplace. Not only did Todd's staff think complimenting a coworker's blouse was inappropriate, but his employees to the sight of two people kissing as if it's pornography. Later, Madhuri reacts to their American boss Jerry kissing her hand as if she just had sex with him (or as she says "I just gave the milk away for free.")
    • Todd keeps getting reported to the sexual harassment hotline because he incessantly touches people's shoulder. Naturally Todd has no clue he's done anything.
    • Jerry is going through divorce negotiations, and feels it is inevitable. Rajeev is aghast at it and delivers a gives him a piece of his mind, accusing him of not trying hard enough to save his marriage. After all, Rajeev eagerly wishes to marry Vimi, much against her father's wishes, and will do what he can to keep his marriage steady for life.
  • Denser and Wackier: The movie could take place in the real world, but the show is decidedly set in Sitcomland. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, as the same could be said of 30 Rock, Community, et al., but it does mean the film and the show have completely different styles of humor.
  • Double Date
  • Fanservice: Manmeet turned into a Walking Shirtless Scene in the last few episodes. Tonya has her moments in Todd's Halloween party.
  • Fictional Holiday: The Holi episode might seem like this but, sitcom hijinks aside, it's an actual holiday and it really is a custom to throw paint and powder at people. Charlie tries his best to make it a Paintball Episode, and it does assume similar proportions. It was also featured, with fewer hijinks, in the movie.
    • Vindaloo Day on the other hand...
  • Fish out of Water
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Gang Of Bullies: The rivals in the cafeteria claiming to work in the call centers for Apple and Microsoft.
  • Groin Attack: Charlie's accident with the waterbomb.
  • Guile Hero: Madhuri has figured out how to con Rajiv quite well, getting him to pay 21,000 rupeees for a 3,000 rupee sari.
  • Halloween Episode
  • Hand or Object Underwear: A coconut, specifically.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Rajiv when Madhouri is in need.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Pretty much every episode title is an Incredibly Lame Pun merging some aspect of Indian culture with an English phrase relevant to the plot. Examples include "A Sitar Is Born", "Sari, Charlie", and "Take This Punjab and Shove It".
  • Idiot Ball: Many of the problems Todd encounters could be avoided by reading a travel guide about India.
    • Similarly, many of the Indian workers come across a little too naive or lacking in knowledge given the amount of American culture that is exported via the internet/Hollywood movie/TV to India.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Gupta shaking his flashlight, which somehow is always seen from behind...
  • Ironic Echo: Todd's employees are ordered off a table by Charlie's workers, who lay claim to their table, with the words "Get Up". After a chain of events, we hear Todd's employees tell Charlie's to "Get Up" at the end of the episode. See Revenge.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Asha chides Todd over 'contaminating the break room table', with a reference to his getting cosy with Tonya over it the night before. Cut to Gupta littering the same table with his eats.
  • Irrational Hatred: Rajiv towards Todd.
  • Jerk Ass: Gupta can come across like this at times, more so than his Butt Monkey status. YMMV though.
    • Charlie's employees play this trope straight. They think they're far superior because they handle customers of Apple and Microsoft and not some novelties retailer.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: One of the employees in "Todd's Holi War" storms out without even listening to the plan. After the plan is executed she shows up late to the party.
  • Meaningful Name: The character Manmeet ("Man meat")is also the playboy charmer of the group.
  • Musical Episode: Which included a Bollywood homage in the cold opening.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Charlie with his stalkerish hobbies and dangerous-looking gadgets.
  • Older and Wiser: Charlie for Todd.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Charlie's workers put on a neat American accent to show their wares, but often revert to their regular Indian accents while confronting Todd's workers. Another example is how Asha pronounces the name of a restaurant- "Lal Mirch"- the way a British or American national would, not like an Indian.
  • Operator from India: No, really?
  • Out of Focus: Poor Asha. She was the secondary lead in the movie, but on the TV show she's lucky to get a Mandatory Line in between the shenanigans of her wackier co-workers.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Tonya and Charlie have jobs running call centers similar to Todd's. We don't see Tonya's workplace until the sixteenth episode. We rarely see Charlie's subordinates. Charlie is shown goofing around with Todd's co-workers more often than his own.
  • Popcultural Osmosis Failure
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rajiv gives one to Jerry. Doubles up as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold moment, depending on your opinion of marriage.
  • Recycled: The Series
  • Revenge:
    • There is a very bitter rivalry between Todd's workers and Charlie's 'A-team'. The 'A team' order Todd's unit off a table to which they lay claim, but Todd's workers refuse to cede the table. Later on, Todd's team seems to get massive orders which are really Charlie's workers making prank calls to them. They eventually have their revenge with Charlie's help when they eventually cede the table to Charlie's team only for the table and chairs to come crashing down with the workers sitting on them, as they were rigged to fall apart.
    • Todd recruits an Indian who spent a lot of his life in the United States and has good knowledge of the country's culture and is also a smart salesman- only for Tonya to poach him with an offer that doubles his salary. Todd's revenge? He helps Charlie hire him at an even higher salary.
    • The air-conditioning being hogged by GloboCon is another nice revenge story. First, when the rival call centre manager talks off Todd, Manmeet spills coffee on him. Then, they divert the air conditioning so that things get so hot upstairs, they are worried about losing a client because of that, and offer to double Todd's office internet speed, only to freeze all their computers with a virus. Todd eventually returns, and wages a Holi war on the employees of GloboCon, littering the area with paint, just as their clients step in.
  • Sensitivity Training: An entire episode about sexual harassment with the expected jokes involving different cultural standards of acceptable workplace conduct. Todd, for example, doesn't realize that touching Madhuri's shoulder is seen as inappropriate.
  • Shout-Out: The plot of rigging the air conditioning to cool Mid American Novelties (Todd's centre) when it was being hogged by the rival GloboCon centre had a very familiar feel to it. It was, however, missing a cable.
  • Shrinking Violet: Madhuri, who speaks unintelligibly quietly. As Lampshaded, working a, you know, phone line may not have been her calling. She finally talks in a just intelligible voice at the end of the pilot, making a sale and thus apparently securing her position.
  • Smug Snake: Rajiv, though spinelessly kissing up to authorities, can't behave decently even with Todd.
  • Start My Own: Todd briefly considered starting his own business instead of moving to India. One reminder about a forty-thousand-dollar debt and one Gilligan Cut later and he was already in India.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm scream is heard when someone falls off a train at the end of "Training Day".
  • Take That: A not-so-affectionate reference is made to Slumdog Millionaire by Todd's boss, Jerry.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Todd, desperately trying to not offend people in a new culture, seems to go out of his way to do just that.
    • Eventually Charlie shows up so, when he find that his call centre has been shut down and he's without a job, and has mounting daily expenses, and struggles to find a new job.
  • Toilet Humour: Sometimes, but not usually the focus. A lot of it is hidden in the heavily censored run on the Indian Comedy Central channel.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: An episode has Rajiv taking over temporarily after Todd gets food poisoning and instituting a strict office Dress Code, banning personal items, etc.
  • The Unfavourite: Poor Todd, compared to his brother.
  • Welcome Episode: Starts with one of these
  • Whatever Happened To The Mouse: First, some of Charlie's A-team members who get plenty of screen time, and then American-born Kamik, first hired by Todd, then poached by Tonya and subsequently working for Charlie. The call centre run by Charlie is shut down towards the end of the series.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Todd, struggling to be a cool boss.
  • White Male Lead: Todd, the most "normal" of the bunch, is the main lead of the show.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Early episodes have this teased between Asha and Todd. The last scene of the show implies they will.
  • Window Pain: The first scene of the pilot.
  • Work Com


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